Offices hope for former Thompson Centre car park

Cash-strapped Burnley Borough Council has said it is still open to offers to build on the car park formerly occupied by the Thompson Centre.

Sunday, 18th December 2016, 6:00 pm

The prime location, next to Burnley Bus Station and Place de Vitry, is being marketed on the council’s website as a “landmark office opportunity”.

The site has been a 250 space pay-and-display car park since the demolition of the former Thompson Centre sports centre in 2006.

Burnley Council confirmed at the time that the long-term plan for the site was for development, and has now moved to calm any fears the public and traders might have at losing vital car park spaces.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We’re open to interest from a developer wanting to create a high quality office development on the site.

“However we would stress that the council is also committed to ensuring there are sufficient car parking spaces in the town centre.”

The site was included in this summer’s Emerging Local Plan (Preferred Options).

As the site is next to the Burnley Town Centre Conservation Area, development proposals would need to give due consideration and be sympathetic to conservation area issues.

The council’s website states: “Place de Vitry is the opportunity to develop a very prominent site with prestigious landmark offices in the Office, Civic and Cultural Quarter of Burnley town centre.

“This site is in a highly accessible location. It is well located for the local road network and M65 motorway, adjacent to Burnley Bus Station, and is within ten minutes walk of the town’s main railway station (Burnley Manchester Road), and two minutes walk from the main shopping area of Burnley town centre.”

It goes on to describe the 1.48 acre site as “regularly shaped, generally level and located at the corner of Centenary Way and Red Lion Street.”

The William Thompson Recreation Centre was opened in 1974, at a cost of £1.2m. thanks to the generosity of millionaire philanthropist William Thompson, a member of one of Burnley’s oldest textile families, who moved to the town when he was 15 and attended Burnley Grammar School.

He died only days before the official opening.

The Thompson Centre was also famous for its iconic frieze, created by Scottish sculptor Charles Anderson, which was saved by current day Burnley entrepreneur Andrew Brown, and now hangs at his Crow Wood Leisure Centre.

The design was inspired by the original Olympians of Ancient Greece.